Leonard Nimoy Explains ‘Live Long And Prosper’ Origins [Video]

Leonard Nimoy died Friday in Lost Angeles. Nimoy was a poet, musician, and photographer, as well as an actor, but he will perhaps always be remembered as Spock, the logical alien in the Star Trek franchise. The New York Times notes that the titles of two autobiographies by Nimoy — I Am Not Spock in 1977 and I Am Spock in 1995 — exemplified his association with the character. In the first book, he expressed his appreciation for what Spock gave him as an actor.

“In Spock, I finally found the best of both worlds: to be widely accepted in public approval and yet be able to continue to play the insulated alien through the Vulcan character.”

Spock’s signature line was “live long and prosper,” accompanied by a distinctive hand gesture: four fingers in the form of a “V.” As Nimoy describes in the video below, the enduring symbol had its origins in an impactful childhood memory. Told not to look at the men giving a blessing to a congregation, Nimoy peeked and saw them with their arms outstretched, hands in the “V” formation.